3 Korean cities on Asia Series shortlist

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3 Korean cities on Asia Series shortlist

Three metropolitan cities have been shortlisted as candidates to host an annual continental baseball competition set for here this fall, officials said yesterday.

The Korea Baseball Organization said Seoul, Busan and Incheon are candidates to host the Asia Series in November. Each of these cities has a ballpark with at least 25,000 seats. This will be the first Asia Series in Korea.

Seoul is home to three KBO clubs - the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins and the Nexen Heroes. The Lotte Giants are based in Busan, the country’s second largest city, located in the southeastern region, and the SK Wyverns are in Incheon, west of Seoul.

The Asia Series will bring together league champions from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Australia. Last year, the KBO’s Samsung Lions beat the Japanese champs SoftBank Hawks to become the first South Korean team to win the Asia Series.

Officials said all three cities are eager to bring the tournament to their town. The KBO had earlier planned to stage the Asia Series in Seoul and a second city but decided instead to name one host city, citing the lack of personnel to run the event in separate locations.

Seoul is the nation’s largest baseball market, but Busan is also a passionate baseball town. The Giants in 2011 became the first KBO club to draw more than one million home fans in four straight seasons.

Incheon has a long baseball tradition and its Wyverns have won three of the past five KBO championships.

According to the KBO, secretary generals of the five leagues have agreed to hold the Asia Series final on Nov. 11. The KBO is to finalize the rest of the schedule and decide the host city.

This year, Korea will have two clubs in the competition, with one each from Japan, Taiwan, China and Australia. The KBO is trying to decide which team, other than the league champion, will represent the league at the Asia Series.

“We could have the second place team from the regular season or the runner-up at the Korean Series,” said Yang Hae-young, the KBO’s secretary general. “We’re also considering inviting a home team from the host city.”

The Asia Series began in 2005 with champions from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and either an all-star team or the league champion from China. Konami, a Japanese game company, sponsored the tournament from 2005 to 2008, but it pulled out after 2008. Yonhap

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